Downtown Seattle

Pioneer Square 'Ratpocolypse'? Depends on who you ask...

Pioneer Square 'Ratpocolypse'? Depends on who you ask... »Play Video
SEATTLE -- Some pest control experts believe thousands and thousands of rats and other rodents are invading Seattle streets courtesy of "Big Bertha" -- the machine that's digging the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel downtown. But business owners tell KOMO News that so far, they haven't seen any rat explosion.

A.J. Treleven with Sprague Pest Solutions are convinced the shaking and vibrations from Big Bertha is causing rats to surface on city streets like never before and they've caught double the number of rats as before.

"As you start shaking things up, they're running and fleeing that, trying to find somewhere quiet for them to burrow," Treleven said.

So months ago, his company started spreading the word with signs and handing out pamphlets saying beware, the "ratpocolypse" is coming.

However, several workers and business owners say they don't see any rat explosion, including guides for Seattle's Underground Tour.

"I'm not seeing them in the underground," said Megan Gott. "Not seeing them in the neighborhood."

So, is it a "ratpocolypse" or not?

"They're not out during the daytime so you're not going to be out on your lunch break and see them all over the roads," Treleven said.

So we asked Travis Macklin and Ron Griffin, who sleep in Pioneer Square ever night, if they've noticed an increase in rats.

They said yes, even in the middle of the streets, and now they see them travel in packs.

"Usually you see them kind of spread out, now they're kind of mobbing-up," Macklin said.

Treleven warns whether people see them or not, he suggests getting someone to seal-off their buildings or risk full-blown rat infestation.

"And as long as they're undisturbed they can continue to breed and grow until something is done about them," he said.

Sprague says they saw the same thing when the Kingdome came down.